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Indiana lawmakers want to give all teachers raises

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Indiana’s top lawmakers want to put more money in teachers’ pockets across the state.

In fact, teacher pay raises are a priority Statehouse leaders laid out just a couple days ago.

Teacher pay keeps coming up in conversation when the state’s top educators try to find and keep the best teachers.

Adam Baker, a spokesperson for the Indiana Department of Education, said, “We hear teacher salary as one of the components. We hear that from educators across the state. It’s always been a priority of ours to, any means possible, any ways possible that you can find additional funding.” 

Democrat State Sen. Tim Lanane of Anderson said, “I value our teachers, and I think society does in general. We need to pay they accordingly.” 

Earlier this year, the U.S. Department of Education said Indiana’s inflation-adjusted teacher pay fell since the 1999-2000 school year. The Education Department said it has gotten to the point where teachers now earn almost 16 percent less than they did two decades ago.

Sen. Lanane said Democrats already have legislation ready to go. Their proposal includes a 2.5 percent teacher pay raise. “So, at the end of the biennium, that would be a 5 percent across-the-board increase for all teachers in the state of Indiana. We think the state should pay for that.” 

House Speaker Brian Bosma said Republicans are already working with Indiana’s teacher’s union and other teacher organizations. He said lawmakers have already tried to get that money to teachers via a tax credit and requiring less administrative expenses.

But, Bosma said, “None of this has really significantly moved the needle. We’re gonna keep searching for solutions and get them implemented this year.” 

The big question: how to pay for the raises?

Lanane said, “We will find the money in the budget somewhere. We think we can do that.” 

So, this is a topic that people and lawmakers seem to agree on. 

We”ll see what happens as the legislative session begins on Jan. 3.